On Thursday, I adopted a young Paddletail newt (Pachytriton brevipes) who will be one of my live models for Acanthostega. I named him Legolas because he’s missing his front right leg. I decided not to name him Legless because the legless (lgl) insertional mutation would imply genetic variation and he most likely lost his leg in a fight with another newt. When I brought him home I carefully unloaded him from the back of my bicycle and set him free in the terrarium I set up for him. His first three hours were a blur of motion as he climbed and swam all over exploring his new home. This cartoon was what I could capture from his initial frolicsomeness.Now, he mostly hides in the nooks between the rocks and only ventures out when I bribe him with yummy worms. So far he is doing well and has eaten twice.
Santa Cruz, CA 2/6/12